Without ceremony or attachment I ate my last meal in the employee cafeteria at the place I’ve been working these past few months. I dropped my salad bowl in the compost bin and walked outside, put my cap on, climbed the stairs to the top of the parking garage and looked out, wondering if anyone had ever jumped. It can be scary for a contractor without the promise of work lined up after you end a gig, like a trapeze artist letting go of one swing and reaching out for the next. But I’m getting used to it.
I ran into an old colleague in the grocery store parking lot; she was wanting the same spot and I was there first but figured I’d let her have it. And then I came up to the car and said hi, and she bought me a coffee. We stood at the bar for a short time reminiscing, talking about our kids, people we both knew.
She was the first person I worked with when I started at the corporate office in the fall of ’96. I was used to working by the hour, where you basically clock out for lunch. It got to about 2 and I hadn’t eaten yet and asked if she minded and she said I don’t give a damn when you eat. And with that I started corporate, salaried life.
People start dying and it changes your view on life, time, and how you spend it. I found I could make a good living as a contractor and have moments in my day to walk the dog, nap, take care of things that are hard to do on the weekends. I spread everything out. Worked on weekends as needed, worked at 5, 6 in the morning when my mind is best.
And today I’m having a beer to celebrate closing a 12-week gig and letting my mind relax into the next one. A real leap of faith, and not much of a net below.